Tourism. It’s a funny old game and ever since London 2012 I’ve become even more aware of how our capital is bending and changing to meet the needs of an ever lucrative tourist market. Perhaps I’m over sensitised to it, but with families and the average joe not really getting out and about to see what is on their own back doorstep, London is looking further afield to attract visitors to it’s slightly overcast shores.

And that my friends, is where The Shard comes in.

Described as an iconic, landmark building, it has indeed been long awaited – I’ve watched curiously as it has been built over the years, wondering what they would make of the very peak. Designed by Master Architect Renzo Piano, it has a height of 1,016ft (310m), making it the tallest building in Western Europe. In fact it is fair to say that The Shard redefines London’s skyline and will be one of those things popping up on London postcards for years to come.

With some spare time off and a desire to do the tourist on your own doorstep thing, I decided to pay it a visit. I do like London things, and I thought it would make a nice thing to try out – until of course, I looked at the price. The Shard is definitely NOT pitching towards average families and locals then eh? At £25.95 a pop for adults and £19.95 for children (if bought in advance) for what is essentially a view I was a little staggered. But, ever curious I paid my money to try it out. For that price, I was expecting big things.

A View From The Shard London

Upon arrival, we were greeted and sent to the main desk (and gift shop, natch) to wait for our “flight”. The process was slick, the building looked good and it was…empty. Must be those darn ticket prices! So we popped to the loo (they make a mahousive deal about you going before you get up The Shard, so we heeded all advice on this one) and set about getting up to the top.

This is where things start to get eerily familiar. If you’ve ever done the Empire State Building, the whole process of getting up in two very very quick lifts, the queuing process and the information they give you is exactly the same. They’ve definitely been more than a little inspired by their NYC cousins, and that is ok, because the Empire State Building is cool. And significantly cheaper I might add.

Once you’ve belted up 68 floors to the first viewing platform you are basically on your own. It sort of feels like wandering around an art gallery that is that clean and spacious, but instead of pictures you have London all around you. Now I won’t lie, for the first 10 minutes I got super excited. I was running (no, wandering) around taking photos and eagerly pointing out landmarks left right and centre. It was fun. For 10 minutes.

A View From The Shard London

 

We headed upstairs to the top platform where you are essentially outside but surrounded by glass and I went round and looked at the same things again. The view hadn’t changed much, obviously. The weather was balls (however this did make everything look like it was from Lord of The Rings which was kind of cool) and I wandered around because I’d paid a lot of money to be there and so I thought I should spend longer.

You are totally surrounded by glass instead of railings which makes photography difficult and there isn’t any information telling you what you are looking at or any history. That would have improved the experience immeasurably. I really loved the Empire State when I did it, but that had a great exhibition about how it was built and it felt more of an experience. The Shard? It feels a bit like a very swishy, half-arsed copy.

For £25 I wanted and expected more. Sure I got some pretty pictures out of it, but that is the least I would expect. We were funnelled out back through the overpriced gift shop, which was indeed the icing on the cake. Check this out if you like views and photography but please please wait for the inevitable Groupon deal to pop up and save yourself some pennies! Or, book a table at any of the restaurants within A View From The Shard London and get the view for free whilst you dine.

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A View From The Shard London. UK Tourist Attraction Review

A View From The Shard London. UK Tourist Attraction Review

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  • Sam and I really wanted to go up when we were in town a few weeks ago BUT SO EXPENSIVE!!! Get your act together, London x
    Sophie Cliff

    • I knowwww! Top tip – you can get a pretty good view if you go into any of the restaurants for a cheeky cocktail apparently! 🙂

  • Olly Benson

    We did a couple of years ago (as a present) and pretty much felt the same. Yer it’s a tall building and yer it’s fun to be high up, but when the Sky Garden at the Walkie-Talkie is just on the opposite bank and is free, you have to wonder why anyone would really spend £25. For £10 more you can walk over the o2 (which is way more fun)

  • I’m hoping to visit London this summer! I’ll definitely have to keep this in mind as something to do. I would love to have this photo!

  • Wow, this is beautiful. Haven’t been to London yet but will surely keep this in mind!

  • Jodie Bickhoff

    Great post. I actually worked at the Shard when I first moved to London from Australia. It’s a pretty awesome building!

  • Ariane Petit

    I love london but I’ve never been to the shard! It seems to be a great outlook plateform. I will definitely visit it during my next stay in London!

  • They built and finished the Shard when I lived in London, and I loved seeing the skyline of the city change! I lived right by it, so it made quite the difference in my daily view, haha 🙂

    — Lisa // FjordsAndBeaches.com

  • I love this! How lucky to visit when no one was there! Is it always like that? It has a great view!

  • I remember seeing the Shard from the outside but never realised how beautiful would be the views from the inside. They look stunning. Maybe the next time I should try getting in.

  • I haven’t been here yet but I get a good idea about the place from your post. I think you must give the feedback that more is expected from the 25GBP. The souvenir shops are often priced high I have noticed, but they do keep quality stuffs.

  • Adventurous Travels

    Is it really nearly 26 pounds? In Albania, for 25 EUR I got a double room with the view of a paradise beach and crystal clear sea – I’ve attached a photo 🙂 Sorry to say but this is ridiculous… It’s a typical tourist trap… Also I don’t like the fact that it’s all surrounded by glass… It makes the process of taking photos difficult. But thanks for the info on how to avoid it by going into a restaurant 😉

    Flavio
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e6fd773ba21070b31644e612967f1df826acffd0c2efb899910f2d68541fde64.jpg

  • It is expensive and I didn’t realise they didn’t have any information up about what you see. A better experience is definitely to eat the Ting restaurant in the Shangri-La – They even have some good lunch deals so it can be quite affordable.

  • Shelise Saddul

    I’ve never been to the Shard but I do really want to go, it is expensive but I think the price is worth it if you do it once anyway, the views look amazing x

    S x | SHELISES WORLD

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